Working Group on Safe System Implementation

Go to videos on the Towards Zero initiative

Go to photos from the kick-off meeting 1-2 October 2014


In 2008, ITF/OECD published a research report Towards Zero: ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach, which was the first international effort in defining and promoting the adoption by all countries of a safe system approach as the main framework for road safety policies. This vision is based on ambitious targets and the aspiration to progressively eliminating all fatalities and seriously injured.

 A safe system approach is based on the underlying principles that:

  • human beings can make mistakes that can lead to road crashes;
  • the human body by nature has a limited ability to sustain crash forces; and
  • it is a shared responsibility between stakeholders (road users, road managers, vehicle manufacturers, etc.) to take appropriate actions to ensure that road crashes do not lead to serious or fatal injuries.

Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia were the precursors in the late 90s in the adoption of Safe System approach (also known as Vision Zero or Sustainable Safety). While there is reticence among some countries about some aspects of a Safe System --mainly related to the principle of establishing a vision zero or a “zero” target -- , several administrations, countries, international organisations have raised interest and sometimes adopted this principle since the publication of the 2008 report.

The safe system approach is at the core of the Plan of Action of the UN Decade of Action, which states that for all countries, whatever their level of developing, the guiding principles underlying the Plan for the Decade of Action are those included in the "safe system".

See a video explaining the concept of a safe system



  • review and document the processes for implementing a safe system, at different levels of a jurisdiction;
  • assess the expected effect of a safe system on road safety performance;
  • identify barriers for implementation;
  • provide guidelines for policy makers in their efforts to implement a safe system.


Expected Outcome

The Working Group will prepare an evidenced based research report, relying on experiences in ITF/OECD countries, with practical policy recommendations for the attention of policy makers on the various steps in implementing a safe system approach. The report is for the attention of all countries of the ITF, which includes countries with a wide diversity of economic and demographic conditions and road safety performance.


Presentations 1st Meeting of the Group

Vision Zero in Sweden. Peter Larsson, Swedish Transport Agency, Sweden    Go to slides 

Safer Journeys: New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010-20, Colin Brodie, New Zealand Transport Agency  Go to slides 

Sustainable Safety in the Netherlands, Wendy Weijermars, SWOV, Netherlands  Go to slides  

Towards Zero: using evidence and aspiration to reduce road trauma in Western Australia, Iain Cameron, Office of Road Safety, Western Australia    Go to slides 

Status on the Implementation of a Safe System in Spain, Alvaro Gomez, DGT, Spain  Go to slides 

Safe System approach in Belgium,  Emmanuelle Dupont, IBSR-BIVV, Belgium   Go to slides 

Safe System Approach: the French case, Sylvain Lassarre, IFSTTAR, France   Go to slides 




Mr Iain CAMERON, Executive Director of the Office of Road Safety, Western Australia, and Chairman of Austroads Road Safety Task Force.


Working Group Members

Dr Katsuya ABE, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan
Ms. Beth ALICANDRI, Federal Highway Administration, USA
Mr Saul BILLINGSLEY, FIA Foundation, UK
Mr Colin BRODIE, New Zealand Transport Agency

Mr Jan-Andre BUHNE, Bundesanstalt für Strassenwesen (BASt), Germany
Ms. Velma BURNS, Road Safety Authority, Ireland
Mr Iain CAMERON, Executive Director of the Office of Road Safety, Western Australia, and Chairman of Austroads Road Safety Task Force
Mr Laurent CARNIS, IFSTTAR, France and PIARC
Mr Pedro CENTENO, Agencia Nacional de Seguridad Vial, Argentina
Dr Vadim DONCHENKO, NIIAT, Russian Federation
Ms. Emmanuelle DUPONT, Belgian Institute for Road Safety
Mr Álvaro GÓMEZ-MÉNDEZ, Observatorio Nacional de Seguridad Vial, Spain
Dr Benoit HIRON, CEREMA, France
Mrs. Agata JAZDZIKOSMÓLSKA, Economic Division Road and Bridge Research Institute (IBDiM), Poland
Dr Meleckidzedeck KHAYESI, World Health Organization, Switzerland
Mr Peter LARSSON, Swedish Transport Agency
Mr Sylvain LASSARRE, IFSTTAR, France
Mr Johan LINDBERG, Swedish Tranport Administration
Mr Krsto LIPOVAC, Road Traffic Safety Agency (RTSA), Serbia
Mr Roberto LLAMAS, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Spain
Mr Alberto MENDOZA, Mexican Transportation Institute
Mr Luca Pascotto, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
Mr Luca PERSIA, Centro di ricerca per il trasporto e la logistica, University of Rome, Italy
Ms. Veronica RAFFO, The World Bank, Argentina
Mrs. Rikke RYSGAARD, Danish Road Directorate, Denmark
Mr Gerry SHIMKO, City of Edmonton, Canada
Mr Marc SHOTTEN, Transport and Water Department, World Bank, USA
Dr Stefan SIEGRIST, Bureau de prévention des accidents, Switzerland
Mrs. An VOLCKAERT, Belgian Road Research Centre (BRRC), Belgium
Ms. Esther WAGNER, National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, USA
Dr Wendy WEIJERMARS, SWOV Institute for Road Safety, Netherlands
Ms. María Francisca YÁÑEZ, Comisión Nacional de Seguridad de Tránsito, Chile
Dr George YANNIS, University of Athens Department of Transportation, Greece